Justice Conflicts in Democracy Promotion

In the global "North-West", liberal democracy is regarded as the universal model of Just Peace Governance at the level of the national state, which is to be promoted globally through foreign and development policies. When turned into practice, however, this postulate encounters major normative problems that can be interpreted as justice conflicts. The claim of North-Western governments to spread universal individual rights by promoting democracy is challenged by those at the receiving end that reject such interference in the name of collective self-determination. While liberal democracy in the global North-West is usually regarded as the only conceivable form of a just political order, divergent ideas about appropriate norms and institutions may exist in the "recipient countries".

These normative tensions, which are inherent to any attempt to promote democratic self-determination from the outside, have gained in political significance since the beginning of the 21st century, as international promoters of democracy find themselves exposed to increasing contestation and sometimes open resistance. The analytical focus on justice conflicts allowed the project to take an empirical look at the normative dimension of this contestation of democracy promotion. Specifically, the project asked (1) to what extent conflicts of justice shape the interaction between "donors" and "recipients" in the field of democracy promotion, (2) how conflicts over justice between "donors" and "recipients" are negotiated, (3) what implications this has for bilateral relations in general and for the conception and practice of democracy promotion in particular, and (4) how diverging dynamics and consequences of justice conflicts can be explained.

The project empirically examined these questions using the example of current political disputes over democracy promotion by means of external civil society support. Over the past fifteen years, a number of countries from all regions of the world have adopted or increased restrictions on the international support of civil society organizations, which severely limit the scope for external democracy promotion. This phenomenon of "closing space" is regarded as the most important expression of the "backlash" against democracy promotion discussed in politics and research; the above-mentioned justice problem manifests itself in it in an almost ideal-typical way. The project examined the political measures and their justification on the recipient side, the reaction (in discourse and practice) on the part of the democracy promoters as well as the ensuing conflicts, negotiations and processes of adaptation. The project combined a general analysis of all relevant cases with an in-depth comparative analysis of selected individual cases.

The article "The Normative Challenge of Interaction: Justice Conflicts in Democracy Promotion", published in 2013 in the journal Global Constitutionalism, outlines the theoretical and conceptual framework of the research project. Key results were published as a PRIF Report and in the article "The contested spaces of civil society in a plural world: norm contestation in the debate about restrictions on international civil society support", published in the journal Contemporary Politics, as well as in a special issue of the journal Democratization ("The negotiation of democracy promotion"). The project was carried out within the framework of the research network External Democracy Promotion (EDP), which was funded by the Leibniz Association from 2015 to 2019.

 

 

1
Harmony and Resilience | 2019

Poppe, Annika Elena (2019): Harmony and Resilience. US Democracy Promotion's Basic Premises, in: Foreign Policy Analysis, 15:4, 530–547, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/isafpa/ory017.

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"Othering" Across and Beyond the Pond | 2018

Poppe, Annika Elena (2018): "Othering" Across and Beyond the Pond, PRIF Blog (Repost from AICGS blog contribution), 18.12.2018.

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"Othering" Across and Beyond the Pond | 2018

Poppe, Annika Elena (2018): "Othering" Across and Beyond the Pond, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), 4.12.2018.

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Democracy Promotion and the Challenge of Shrinking Civic Spaces | 2018

Poppe, Annika Elena/Wolff, Jonas (2018): Democracy Promotion and the Challenge of Shrinking Civic Spaces, in: Poppe, Annika Elena/Richter, Solveig/Wolff, Jonas (für das EDP Netzwerk) (eds), PRIF Report, (Vol. 13).

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6
Democracy Promotion in the 21st Century | 2018

Poppe, Annika Elena/Richter, Solveig/Wolff, Jonas (2018): Democracy Promotion in the 21st Century, in: Poppe, Annika Elena/Richter, Solveig/Wolff, Jonas (für das EDP Netzwerk) (eds), PRIF Report, (Vol. 13).

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7
Democracy Promotion under the Current US Administration | 2018

Poppe, Annika Elena (2018): Democracy Promotion under the Current US Administration, in: Poppe, Annika Elena/Richter, Solveig/Wolff, Jonas (für das EDP Netzwerk) (eds), PRIF Report, (Vol. 13).

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8
Shrinking Spaces. Eine Herausforderung der internationalen Demokratie- und Zivilgesellschaftsförderung | 2018

Baldus, Jana/Poppe, Annika Elena/Wolff, Jonas (2018): Shrinking Spaces. Eine Herausforderung der internationalen Demokratie- und Zivilgesellschaftsförderung, in: Afrika Süd, 47:5, https://www.afrika-sued.org/ausgaben/heft-5-2018/shrinking-spaces/.

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An Overview of Global Initiatives on Countering Closing Space for Civil Society | 2017

Baldus, Jana/Poppe, Annika Elena/Wolff, Jonas (2017): An Overview of Global Initiatives on Countering Closing Space for Civil Society, Washington, D.C.: CSIS Human Rights Initiative, www.csis.org/(...).

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The Contested Spaces of Civil Society in a Plural World | 2017

Poppe, Annika Elena/Wolff, Jonas (2017): The Contested Spaces of Civil Society in a Plural World. Norm Contestation in the Debate about Restrictions on International Civil Society Support, in: Contemporary Politics (open access), 23:4, DOI: 10.1080/13569775.2017.1343219.

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16
Schlechtes Vorbild Deutschland | 2017

Poppe, Annika Elena/Wolff, Jonas (2017): Schlechtes Vorbild Deutschland. Der Fall Attac im Licht globaler Einschränkungen zivilgesellschaftlicher Handlungsspielräume, PRIF Spotlight 2/2017, Frankfurt/M.

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17
Recalibrating the interest-values-nexus. US democracy promotion in the Middle East | 2017

Poppe, Annika Elena (2017): Recalibrating the interest-values-nexus. US democracy promotion in the Middle East, in: Orient, 58:2, 15–22.

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Demokratieförderpolitik: Rhetorische Wende bei gleichbleibender Politik? | 2017

Poppe, Annika Elena (2017): Demokratieförderpolitik: Rhetorische Wende bei gleichbleibender Politik?, in: Fehl, Caroline/Fey, Marco (Hg.), „America first“: Die Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik der USA unter Präsident Trump, Frankfurt/M, 21–22, HSFK-Report Nr. 1/2017.

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From Closing Space to Contested Spaces | 2015

Wolff, Jonas/Poppe, Annika Elena (2015): From Closing Space to Contested Spaces. Re-assessing Current Conflicts over International Civil Society Support, PRIF Report No. 137, Frankfurt/M.

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The Question of Self-Determination in International Democracy Promotion | 2014

Wolff, Jonas (2014): The Question of Self-Determination in International Democracy Promotion, PRIF Working Papers No. 19, Frankfurt/M.

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The Normative Challenge of Interaction | 2013

Poppe, Annika Elena/Wolff, Jonas (2013): The Normative Challenge of Interaction. Justice Conflicts in Democracy Promotion, in: Global Constitutionalism, 2:3, 373-406, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S204538171200024X.

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Demokratischer Krieg am Hindukusch? | 2011

Müller, Harald/Wolff, Jonas (2011): Demokratischer Krieg am Hindukusch? Eine kritische Analyse der Bundestagsdebatten zur deutschen Afghanistanpolitik 2001-2011, in: Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik, Sonderheft, 4:3, 197-221, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12399-011-0211-x#citeas.

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Quo vadis, Obama? | 2011

Poppe, Annika Elena (2011): Quo vadis, Obama? US-amerikanische Demokratieförderpolitik nach dem Kalten Krieg, HSFK-Report Nr. 2/2011, Frankfurt/M.

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Whither to, Obama? | 2010

Poppe, Annika Elena (2010): Whither to, Obama? U.S. Democracy Promotion after the Cold War, PRIF Report No. 96, Frankfurt/M.

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